2x8 HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION
sufficient liberty to be able to pursue his studies at several of the
French universities. Sometime about 1530 he became a secular
priest and turned to the study of medicine. The rest of his life
was spent as a physician and writer. Apart from his work as
lecturer in medicine and anatomy, he had no personal experience
of teaching ; but his acquaintance with Erasmus and Sturm gave
him a keen interest in education, which showed itself in several
chapters of the two great satirical books, Pantagruel and Gargantua,
on which his fame rests.
His general view of education had much in common with that
of his humanistic friends, but it was humanism with a difference.
More than any man of his age he had the fresh quickening sense
of individual worth which had characterized the early Renaissance,
and it affected all his conceptions of social life. The ideal society
for him was a fellowship of human beings enjoying perfect freedom,
like that which he describes in his account of the inmates of the
Utopian Abbey of Thelema : " All their life was laid out, not by
laws, statutes, or rules, but according to their will and free pleasure.
They rose from their beds when it seemed good to them ; they
drank, ate, worked, and slept, when the desire came upon them.
In their rule, there was but one clause—Do what you will: because
men who are free, well born, well bred, and conversant in honest
company, have by nature an instinct and spirit which always
prompts them to virtuous actions and withdraws them from vice.
And this they style honour."*
This idea of individual freedom, it is true, does not come directly
into the fanciful sketches of the training of Gargantua and
Pantagruel in which Rabelais sets forth his educational opinions.
He had evidently not realized that the education which makes
men free must be carried out in the spirit of freedom. So far from
the young giant Gargantua learning at his pleasure, he was com-
pelled to toil incessantly at his studies. He rose at four, and while
he was being rubbed a page of Scripture was read to him. He was
made to note the chief features of the morning sky, and to compare
them with what he had seen the night before. During his dressing
the lessons of the previous day were recapitulated by his teacher.
Then followed three hours of serious study, when he had to listen
to some book being read to him. After a spell of play in the fields,
during which lessons were discussed, he got dinner, some time